Tips for Turning Off the Waiting Room

Tips for Turning Off the Waiting Room

Peace and quiet and a short wait you rarely find in a waiting room.

You might have heard of white coat syndrome—it means your apprehension to see a doctor raises your blood pressure.

Modern waiting rooms of all sorts—doctors, car dealerships, banks—raise my blood pressure and bother my ears because of the obnoxious and ubiquitous presence of the television. What’s wrong with television?   Lots when you have no control over what’s on and you’re a captive audience.   Time is exceedingly precious these days and fifteen minutes of quiet is more valuable than:

  • the soap opera sex scene–your kid is with you

  • the adult-oriented cartoon that’s a brain-drain;

  • Dr. Phil’s video of a woman being lit on fire—enough.

Add to the constant stream of television noise the chatter of other people talking on their cell phones and you’ve got a potential headache. A recent long wait for a doctor forced me not only to listen to an over-loud TV but the ego-charged business call of a fellow patient.  Her voice sucked any chance for peace from the room.

Waiting rooms used to provide a small island of personal time—my frazzled sister-in-law once commented that even root canal gave her the opportunity to sit and think for a while!  Now you have to be waiting-room prepared, know how to navigate these noisy places.


  • Choose a chair away from the door, far from the television;
  • Bring an IPod and play soft music while you read, check emails on your phone, or make out to-do lists;
  • Tell the receptionist you will be waiting outside, to notify you on your cell—good weather only! If enough of us did this office managers might get the idea, make waiting rooms more user-friendly.
  • Ask if there is an open exam room when you see a doctor.  Often we sit around in paper gowns shivering, why not start the process early on!
  • Bring earplugs or plug the ear closest to the TV with your finger!
  • Bring reading material with you; when waiting with children bring something for them to do.  Don’t use the waiting room’s books and toys that are bacteria and virus havens.

Follow these tips and you won’t have to go to the limits of a woman I once knew: she set up her music stand and practiced her guitar in the car dealership waiting room.  For some reason, the work on her vehicle was always done quickly!

Thanks to Google Images